What are some of the most important things for a pastor-in-training to learn?

9Marks
The Bible. A pastor’s first priority is to preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2). A pastor-in-training’s first priority should be to study the Word. Holiness. The primary qualifications for an elder are moral and spiritual (1 Tim. 3:2-7). A pastor is to shepherd his people by his own example (1 Pet. 5:3). Therefore a man pursuing the ministry must diligently seek after consistent, hard-fought holiness.

How important is seminary training?

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Seminary training is one way to develop some tools that are useful for pastoral ministry. Specifically, seminary is a good place to learn theology, church history, the biblical languages, and the tools of exegesis.

On the other hand, personal ministry within the local church is absolutely essential training for a pastor. It is in the local church that a man’s character is formed and assessed, that he learns how to disciple and counsel others, and that he learns how to preach and teach.

How can a pastor make unwise use of commentaries and other helps in sermon preparation?

9Marks

A pastor can make unwise use of commentaries and other resources in sermon preparation if he allows them—rather than the text itself—to set his sermon’s agenda.

How important is knowing the original languages to preaching?

9Marks

For a preacher, knowing the original languages can be likened to what Paul said to slaves about freedom: “If you can gain your freedom, do so. If not, be content with what you have” (1 Cor. 7:21, paraphrase). In other words, if you are able to learn the original languages, do so. They are a valuable tool. But such knowledge is not absolutely necessary for a preacher, for a number of reasons.

How can a pastor best care for the members of his congregation who are physically ill?

9Marks
Pray for them personally. See James 5:14. Pray for them publicly. Be discerning here. Be careful that your church’s public prayers don’t become (if they aren’t already!) a mere recital of who’s got what. Perhaps consider praying in general for those who are ill in one of your pastoral prayers. Visit them if you’re able.

What are some tips for preparing a sermon on a tight schedule?

9Marks
Expositional sermons take time to prepare, so you need to make time. You need to meditate on and exegete the text, understand the text’s main point and turn it into a sermon outline, carefully consider how to apply the text to your hearers’ lives, and then write a sermon. So the first thing to do is block out time in your schedule. As much as you can manage, make yourself unavailable for anything else.

Should a pastor visit every member of his church who is hospitalized?

9Marks

That question is impossible to answer in the abstract, so here are some principles to help a pastor think through what kind of a priority he should give to visiting hospitalized church members.

How can I preach to people who are much older than me?

9Marks
Preach the gospel. All people of all ages need to hear and believe and be reminded of God’s saving work in Christ. Preach about the sovereignty of God. All people of all ages need to be reminded that God alone rules over every circumstance of our lives.

How can I preach expositional sermons to uneducated hearers?

9Marks

Teach your people why you preach expositionally. Consider preaching a sermon in which you explain the necessity and benefits of expositional preaching as well as how to listen to an expositional sermon. When you use theological terms, explain what they mean. Develop clear sermon outlines. This gives your people a place to mentally hang their […]

How can I decide whether or not I should be a pastor?

9Marks

Traditionally, Christians have referred to two kinds of “call” a man must experience before entering the pastorate: an internal call and an external call. While the word “call” is potentially misleading, the basic idea is right. Before becoming a pastor, a person should both desire to do the work and receive confirmation from a church. Part of doing both involves considering the biblical qualifications of an elder.

How can a preacher help his congregation to be dependent on the Word, and not his own personality?

9Marks
Don’t spend too much time trying to be funny. It’s tempting to rely on humor to make an emotional connection with your congregation, but you should resist the urge. When humor “happens,” fine. But be careful: if you train your people to expect humor, that’s what they’ll desire instead of God’s Word.

Does a pastor have to be “called” by God?

9Marks

On the one hand, there seems to be no biblical indication that the New Testament office of elder or pastor requires a special “calling.”

How can a preacher train his congregation to make the most of expositional preaching?

9Marks
Preach at a level that’s high enough to make them stretch, but not so high that the sermon flies over their heads. Apply the text to their lives specifically. Provide cards that list all the upcoming sermons, a blog post, or something similar that will inform the congregation of what biblical texts the preacher will cover in coming weeks. Encourage the church to study the biblical texts during the week before the sermon.

How do we do good biblical theology in our preaching?

9Marks
Set each text within the overall narrative of Scripture. From the text, look backwards in the Bible and identify what covenantal promises may be relevant to the text at hand: promises to Abraham? Moses? David? Then look forward and consider how your text is fulfilled in the person and work of Christ.

As I look for an existing church to pastor, what should I look for in a church?

9Marks

A number of factors might compel a man searching for a pastorate toward one church or another. But there are at least two factors that, from the standpoint of prudence, are non-negotiables: